I hope you'll hang in there with me through this post. I'm not sure yet what I'm going to write! Usually I have it all planned out in my head the things I want to say but today is a very emotional day and all I know is I want to write SOMETHING.
I wanted to be able to share a bit of my latest experience. I made a vow to myself that when I blog, even when I'm sharing with complete strangers, I want to be open and honest about who I am and my experiences in this journey.
A lot of people who have read my introduction know a little about my history, about Alex and Henry. What a lot of people don't know is I have had a total of five losses in my journey. I had one "chemical pregnancy" (please see my last post for my feelings on that word!) before my son Kevin was born in 2009. In 2011 we lost Alex at 14 weeks. The following January we lost another baby when I was almost six weeks. Then this past February we lost Henry just shy of 20 weeks.
After Henry, I saw specialists. I pushed them, pleaded for answers. And I got none. Nothing in the autopsy report. Nothing in my tests. According to them, everything is in perfect working order.
So we decide to put our trust in our wonderful doctors and in our faith and try again. And we were so amazed when we were pregnant on the very first try! We thought that was a sure sign that this one was meant to be, it happened so easily.
Unfortunately, as I found out Monday, this was not our rainbow baby. When I was six weeks five days, we lost that baby as well.
Now I was blessed in many ways through this loss. I'd asked my OB for early blood work and an early ultrasound. When the numbers and measurements weren't coming back in agreement with my dating, I had a feeling this one was not meant to be. And the more blood work I had done the more sure of that I became. My hcg had pretty much stopped rising last week so Monday I was sent for a stat blood test and I got squeezed into an ultrasound at Maternal Fetal Medicine at Riverside.
I met with Dr. M. again who I have to say is probably the most amazing doctor I've met. He held me hand, was very sympathetic and honest. There had been no change in the ultrasound and my hcg had fallen. He still maintains his belief that we can have another healthy pregnancy. In his words, we've had a lot of really bad, unexplainable things happen to us but there's just no mechanism, no common denominator. I've had test after test. There's just really nothing there. I very bluntly told him I'm just not sure I believe him anymore. He was ok that. He believes for me.
I chose to have a D&C done for a lot of reasons, most of them emotional but I also do live an hour from the hospital and I had concerns about that should something happen. (and with a diagnosis of chronic bad luck, why take my chances??) and we had that done yesterday evening.
While I was waiting (and waiting and waiting) in pre-op I had my ear-buds on and one of the songs I was listening to was that new Pink song with Nate Ruess. "Just Give Me A Reason." and while I know the song is about something completely different, I found some of the lyrics speaking to me.
I'd been feeling very broken. Very defeated. I wanted a REASON. I want to know why this is happening? Four losses in a row, that's just insane! And we have all this technology and yet no one can tell me why. It gives me so much respect for just how fragile the process really is. It only takes one little thing to go wrong to end it all. In my case, this last one was almost for sure a genetic thing. We never had anything but an empty sac, no fetal pole or anything. So something went awry very early.
Anyway back to the song. I'm feeling so lost and angry and Pink starts singing in my ears.
"Just give me a reason, just a little bit's enough. Just a second we're not broken just bent and we can learn to love again."
And I thought about that a little. Hey- Pink is right! I'm not broken. I'm just bent! I can learn to trust my doctors, and trust myself. I've made it through worse, I'll make it through this, too.
"It's in the stars, it's been written in the scars on our hearts."
Yes. One of the things that helps me find peace is knowing I'm following a path that's been laid out for me. I don't know where I'm going or why but sometimes it helps me to put my trust in that and accept that I'm not in control. I can't use willpower to stay pregnant. It's written in the stars but it's also been written in the scars on my heart. Five big ones. I'll always carry those scars with me. It's not something you ever forget and move on from. Even once you're healed, it's still there. You're never the same person. Not everyone can see these scars, not everyone even knows there are five of them. But they're there.
Sometime over the weekend, I realized that yes, I'm still praying for a miracle that I just had wacky hcg numbers and everything would be fine. But the more rational part of me realized that wasn't likely. So I prayed for my doctors. They're the ones guiding us through this, I prayed for them to have the proper wisdom and respect. Which they did. And I prayed for more strength which I have been very blessed with. I'm still standing. I'm still fighting. It hurts like hell but I'm not giving up yet. Some may find this idea crazy but I know in my heart that I'm not done. I'm not broken, I'm just bent.
And today I pray for all the other mamas out there who carry scars on their hearts too. And I pray that wherever you are in your journey, whether you're trying again, not ready to try again, can't try again, etc., you find peace with that.
And I thank everyone who's been praying for us the last few days. I know there have been many of you and I truly believe they've helped us. I may not have gotten the outcome I wanted but I have enough strength to make it through this and I think at this point that's all I can really ask for.
I may come across as so "together" and at peace. I'm not. Writing about it helps me and I've been over and over this post, editing and fixing trying to convey it in just the right way. Last Friday when I got our fourth blood test back and it had barely risen, I knew it was over. The nurse told me what to do if I was bleeding heavily over the weekend though she never actually told me the pregnancy was not viable. But I knew. I was driving home in a rain storm from Ella's class trip to the zoo when she called. I mean I guess if you're getting news like that it's better to have it raining than bright and sunny, no?
I came home, put the kids down for a nap and I went into my room and bawled my eyes out. I cried more that day than I did the day I found out Henry had died. That's for a lot of reasons. The news about Henry sent me into a state of shock, for one. And I was fixated on a lot of things as I prepared to go to the hospital the next day.
Friday though was full of grief but also very full of disappointment and a lot of anger. This is not fair. This shouldn't be happening. I have to start all over. AGAIN. But one of the biggest things I've learned is to just go with it. I cry when I want to cry. I laugh when I feel like laughing. I don't pretend to make sense of it, each experience has been very different, it's impacted us very differently. In some ways, sadly, it's been easier because my wonderful husband and I are now familiar with navigating through the medical aspects of this. We know all about the procedures and the tests and the healing. The emotional stuff is familiar too, though we admit that it is different.
And this time I have a wonderful circle I've met through Back in His Arms Again and even though I don't yet know them well, they've made me feel so loved and supported. This has been one of the biggest lessons for me. LET PEOPLE HELP YOU! The first three times we went through a loss we were very quiet about it. Losing Henry taught me to accept help and support when it's offered. People want to help! And there's no need for me to be Wonder Woman and have it all together. I'm allowed to accept a meal or help cleaning my house! There's no shame in that. In fact I've come to believe that it takes a bigger woman to accept she needs help than it does to try and do it all myself. And having that support around us has made me smile and feel loved. It's been uplifting at a very low time.
So thank you for allowing me to share this with you. My hope is that in writing, I can help other people. Sometimes just sharing with someone else is helpful.